That’s A Wrap! 2018 in Review

Hey y’all. I know i haven’t realllyyy been here in a a bit now (besides the poetry posts on Tuesdays but I don’t think that’s why most of you are following me), and I want to say sorry for the completely unplanned hiatus. I thought I was going to have the time to write one post a week and still keep on top of irl stuff, but that just wasn’t the case. I’ve had final projects, final exams, basketball related things, and just general almost-christmas life stuff that just kept piling on and suddenly I’d forgotten to blog in weeks. I’m going to try to change stuff up a bit to make myself more active in 2019, but that post will come next week. Today is all about reflecting, so let’s get to it.

All About Books...

(i know i said i was gonna get to changes next week but I made sorta cute banners and so we’re starting that now)

Guys!! This year has been SO. HARD. for reading. really, really, really hard. I feel like this is probably an exact duplicate of what I said last year, but college just makes everything so much harder.  I did my best to read, and was fortunate enough to pick realllyyy good books, so I think overall, although I had a lower quantity of books, my quality was great! Hopefully y’all think the same.

What I Read

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)All the Light We Cannot SeeThe GirlsTurtles All the Way DownSmall Great ThingsWe Were LiarsVanishing GirlsThe Leader's Compass: A Personal Leadership Philosophy Is Your Key to SuccessThe Last Time I LiedBig Little LiesThe Queen's Fool (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #12)The Hatred of PoetryThe Princess Saves Herself in This One (Women Are Some Kind of Magic, #1)Sonnets

What I Loved

Of the books that I read, 7 of them were rated five stars! That’s pretty damn good if you ask me. Of these seven, I’d say that three of them stood out in my head as being way better than all the other / way more recommendable. What I mean by this is basically– the Queen’s Fool was a five star read for me, but unless you’re super into Tudor Court smut/for some reason obsessed with Philippa Gregory/trying to make your life more romantic than it actually is, I don’t think you’re gonna rate it the same way. On the other hand, here’s a few books that I can almost guarantee you’ll love:

Turtles All the Way Down— I know this was somewhat controversial with the way mental health was portrayed, especially in regards to medication, but for me it was SUPER RELEVANT and made me feel very seen. I don’t have OCD but the way she talked about her anxiety was amazing, and plus it was a great plot, and I think everyone should read it.

Small Great Things— Honestly, I’m in this one for the message as well. I felt like it was really eye opening for me as a super privileged white woman to see all the microaggressions and sort of get called out. Also, I couldn’t put the book down and the plot was incredible, I felt so attached to the characters. Read it.

The Last Time I Lied— It wouldn’t be a Joce Certified List if there wasn’t at least one psycho thriller on it. Last year, Final Girls was one of my favorite books ever and this year, Riley Sager’s next book is also on the list!

What I Hated

There were a few books I read this year that I absolutely couldn’t stand, as sad as that is. For the most part they were books I read for school, but nonetheless still disappointing. Also, notice that all these links go to Goodreads. Because this year, I couldn’t be bothered to review books that I didn’t love. (sorry not sorry)

The Leader’s Compass— Honestly, this book could have been summed up in three pages and been equally (if not more) effective. And then, we could have left out all the sexist descriptions of women that contribute to the patriarchal office system we have in place today!!

All the Light We Cannot See— HOW. DID. THIS. BOOK. WIN. PRIZES. I don’t get it. It was so so so boring. I listened to it via audiobook over a 4ish day period, i was reading with friends, and i still couldn’t bring myself to be interested. There was no plot or conflict, and I didn’t feel invested enough in the characters to continue without that.

Fun Stats

My shortest book was The Hatred of Poetry, and my longest book was Shakespeare Sonnets, both of which (as you probably guessed) were for the poetry class I took this semester!

I actually read three books because I was told to– those two, and then Leader’s Compass. That’s a decently significant portion of books I read, especially since if I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have found other books to fill them! Reading has been super hard but being forced to read helped me get through a few books this semester.

the write life

Okay, so reading didn’t go that great this semester, but I did other things, right?? (maybe not) Let’s talk about some blogging highlights of the year!

Best Blog Posts

Here’s some posts that you all thought were good this year (or at least good enough to read)!

  1. The Book Blogger Awards— As per usual, the book blogger awards received the absolute most traffic of all my posts. There were a TON of nominations this year, and I had a ton of fun going through them and finding new bloggers to follow!! This was the second year I hosted this, and I can honestly say that I think I’ll do it for as long as I run my blog, even though it’s a ton of work.
  2. How Hype Affects Reading— Way early this year, I wrote a discussion post on how hype affects our reading, and whether it can ruin a book for us. I think it was a pretty decent post in that I still think about the topic a lot, and clearly you all were interested too!
  3. Should You Buddy Read??— After buddy reading once this year, I decided to talk about my experiences. Overall, I can say that it’s definitely something I’d want to do again! for more opinions, read the post 😉
  4. The Nope Book Tag— Everyone in the book community loves a good unpopular opinion, and the number of views this post got prove it! I got tagged in this a little while ago, and wrote all about my NOPE book opinions, which y’all seemed to find interesting.
  5. Blogging Advice: Consistency— I wrote a blogging advice post on the pros and cons of blogging consistently (hahahaha ironic considering my current blogging status of… not) which I personally think was helpful, and hopefully some of you will feel the same!

Worst Blog Posts

You know how sometimes you spend a really long time on a post, or wake up in the morning with a great post idea, and then you write it and it just… doesn’t work? Well, that didn’t not happen to me this year. Here’s some of the posts that fell flat, for whatever reason.

  1. Book Tour: The Crossroads of Logan Michaels— guys this book sounds good, and there’s an excerpt and everything in there! maybe it’s just a bad genre for the readers of this blog, but it deserves more than the views it got i swear! if you’re looking for a new book to read maybe check this out (or maybe this is a sign i shouldn’t do book tours…)
  2. The Poetry Series— I started a poetry series a little over a month ago, where I posted my opinions of sonnets I read and things. Well, y’all were not a fan, and it fell a little bit flat. Over the next month or so, I plan on continuing, so you can plan on continuing to ignore. I think they’ll be useful eventually, but I promise that i’ll start posting real posts sometimes too!
  3. The Last Time I Lied Review— Okay guys, I’m just gonna assume that nobody read this review because you all already read the book, because if that’s not the case, I don’t know what you’re doing. Read the review and then read the book!!!!!
(i know you’re probably wondering why i always have fewer things in my “worsts” list than best, so let me tell you: i’m doing a positivity challenge in life, and you can only have ~1/2 the number of complaints as positives, so i’m transferring that to the blog too!)

Fun Stats

My absolute favorite part of the summary. Let’s talk about my blogging stats!! Overall, this year was far worse than last, but that’s because I blogged way less. I mean, just look at the numbers (from december 20th, because that’s when I wrote this post):

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This year, I didn’t even hit 10,000 views, which is, to put it frankly, sad. At some point in 2017 I was hitting over 1,500 views a month, and then I stopped blogging and it dropped off. I suppose it makes sense, seeing as how I am only posting <1 time a week, whereas I used to post 3x, but I mean… still sad.

Individual posts are getting more views though! I had my first post hit over 1,000 views this year, which is absolutely incredible and just generally makes me really happy that so many people are reading things that I write 🙂

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I had a ton of search term hits, the most popular of which are shown above. My favorite is that two people searched “how would you describe someine you are passionately in love with” and clicked my blog?? Like did the same person search it and spell the word wrong twice? or did two people spell someone wrong?? i’m confused but also glad that you found your way here, dear searcher.

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Clicks!! For those of you who aren’t familiar with wordpress, clicks are basically just outgoing links from my blog. I sent the most to goodreads, twitter, and fictionpress (where I used to post writing, but no longer have an account), which I’d say makes sense. But also, I’ve sent a decent amount to everyone who won a book blogger award, which is awesome!! they deserve it!!

Personal Writing

Over the past year, I haven’t written as much as I would ideally like, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t written at all. I decided to start writing an autobiography, which is nowhere near done, but I’ve accumulated a main 20 or so pages and then an additional 15 pages or so of random other stories that I’m not sure how fit in yet. And it’s been really fun to do!

I’ve also written a lot of poetry, mostly angsty teen stuff that nobody wants to read. Other than that, my novels have mostly stalled out, although I did start a short story recently that I have no good conclusion for but feel like I could turn into a full length novel if I had the time.

I’d say on the whole, although I didn’t write a ton (and didn’t even try nano, for the first year since I started my blog), it was still really great and I’m happy with what I did end up writing

All About Books... (1)

So, what about my personal life?

As you all probably already know, I started my second year of school at MIT this year!! It’s been wildly hard, harder than anything I’ve ever done, and balancing basketball and school and friends has been almost impossible.

but that being said, I think i’ve been doing a better job. At the beginning of this year, I sort of abandoned all of my friends except for a select few, and that’s something that still makes me feel really shitty. After taking the summer to kind of figure that out, I came back at the end of this year and have been working way harder at those friendships, and I hope to continue that into next year!!

As far as me personally, my mental health has been rouuugghhhh in the past few months. I’ve had more breakdowns than ever before, and spent more time staring at the wall in my bed when I should be in class than is good for anyone. I’m hoping to do more to manage that in the next year, and I’ve been taking steps to make sure I don’t have other stressers that make everything worse.

So yeah, that’s the year! I’d say overall it’s been one of the best years I’ve ever had, in large part because of the people I have around me. I have better friends than I’ve ever had in my entire life, and am generally wildly happy when my mental health isn’t getting in the way!!

let's talk

So that’s my 2018!! How was your year? What were your favorite books? Least favorite? How’s life going!! Let me know in the comments

joce-sign-off

Mid-Year Review: 2018 Ups and Downs

It’s hard to believe that its already August. I feel like it was just a month ago that the air was freezing cold and nobody wanted to go outside because it was April and still felt like January. But we’ve made it, and that means that not only the summer, but the year, is already half over!! This year was wild, since it was the first where I was in college for the entire thing, and made my blogging life way different than it used to be. That being said, I still had a fun year, and I’m here to tell you guys all about it.

Continue reading “Mid-Year Review: 2018 Ups and Downs”

Wrap-Up: January // Not Stellar But Hanging in There

It’s February! (yes it has been for over a week, and this post is super late, but let’s ignore that please and move on)

I’m sure y’all know this, but January was a little rough for me. It should have been my 2nd month back from hiatus but instead it turned into unplanned mini hiatus, which is… not so great. I think I bounced back strong at the end though (aka posted roughly twice) and it was a good month for reading, so overall, could have been much worse.

Continue reading “Wrap-Up: January // Not Stellar But Hanging in There”

Intro to 2018 // Goals, Predictions, and More

Happy New Year Everyone!!!! It feels bizarre that the year is 2018… I mean, I still sometimes think it’s 2008, the fact that it has been 10 years since then is just weird.  But anyways, I can’t wait for this year, and have already been working on some resolutions/goals, and a TBR to share with you all.

Continue reading “Intro to 2018 // Goals, Predictions, and More”

Recap: The Book Blogosphere in Review

As I mentioned in my summary/end of hiatus post a while back, I wanted to collect a bunch of really great blog posts from over this summer and compile them, both for myself to read and others.  While I was reading everyone’s posts, it occurred to me that I could make this a regular/seasonal feature, where at the end of every season I recap the best posts and general happenings from around the blogosphere!

All of the posts and info this time were suggested by other people on my summary post earlier this month since I took a pretty long hiatus.  After this, we’ll see whether it’ll be better for me to randomly find posts, or to take suggestions from you guys.  I’m not gonna do wrap up posts any more, because I only post once a week, so this will potentially replace that.

Continue reading “Recap: The Book Blogosphere in Review”

August Intro: TBR and Future Goals

I actually cannot believe that it’s August, because that means I’M LEAVING FOR COLLEGE SOON. WAY TOO SOON. WAY WAY WAY TOO SOON.  Don’t get me wrong I’m super excited I’m just freaking out too. And you guys should be too, because gods only know how much I’m going to be able to blog in college.  It’s a whole new world out there and I’m not sure if I’m ready to experience it.  Time management? Like WHAT? Remind me what that is again?  Since it’s the last month of summer, I’m going to try to make a reasonable* TBR and set goals that I think I can genuinely reach.  Here we go.

*yes, yes, I know reasonable isn’t really my strong suit.  But I’ll succeed this time, I PROMISE (cue awkward laughing)

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Ebook / eARCs

Not the Only SkyThe Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendSelect (Untitled #1)

  1. Not the Only Sky— Yes, yes I know I’ve been reading this for three months and so shouldn’t be putting other books on this list too since I really need to finish this one, but I promise I’ve been putting work in on it recently.  It’s not that bad, really.
  2. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend— I got this book from JellyBean, they finally opened it up the the US (YAY), and I can’t wait to read it. It looks adorably fun and the ultimate bookish book so CAN’T WAIT.
  3. Select— This is an October ARC that I desperately want to finish before October, which is why it’s on the chart in August. That should mean that I’ll finish it by late September.

Physical Books

The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, #1)The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, #2)Big Little LiesThose Girls

  1. Clan of the Cave Bear— I’m already about halfway through this one (it’s only the 26th as I write this, so maybe I’ve finished it by now, but I’m not gonna update my July Wrap or this post, so let’s pretend and it’ll all be okay) and I FREAKING LOVE IT.  AND IT’S A SERIES.  My mom sort of forced me to start, and it’s so well written it makes me work to read it but yet is actually a great story I’m not sure why it took me so long to find this beauty.
  2. Valley of the Horses— The Clan of the Cave Bear Sequel, ya’ll (i’m not sure what’s gotten into me).  I’m not sure if i’ll read these both one after the other or interject one in between, but I can’t wait.  Can’t wait at all.
  3. Big Little Lies— This has made several appearances on my TBR, but this is gonna be the month that I will truly do it.  I like Liane Moriarty books, they’re predictably constant in their 4 star-ness, and plus I want to watch the TV show, so it’ll be a double win.
  4. Those Girls— I got this book at the library for 50 cents, and it looks incredible, and is in perfect condition.  It’s a light paperback, so I’m putting it on the TBR solely to bring to the beach with me.

Audiobooks

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

  1. Strange the Dreamer— This is 18.5 hours, so I think it’ll be the only one I’ll finish this month, but it’s also something I’m VERY VERY VERY EXCITED to read.  I can’t believe it finally came in on Overdrive.  now I just have to finish it before it expires.

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Blogging

Reach 450 Followers– I have so much trouble setting this goal every month, because either I dream wayyyyy too big or I don’t dream at all and assume that literally only 1 person will find me and want to follow me, because let’s be honest who would really want to follow me.  I think 450 is a solid goal, and it’ll make me super happy to get there!

Post a Review Every Friday– I think that this will be an easy goal, it’s just a matter of sitting down and actually writing the posts.  I already have 2 scheduled, and I’ve read enough books to have one for every Friday, it’s just a matter of writing them.

Find 3 New Blogs to Follow– I haven’t “gotten out” into the blogging world in a long time, and it’s sort of stalling me out in terms of new followers and also just enjoying the blogging community.  I want to make sure I follow at least 3 blogs that I GENUINELY ENJOY this month, and comment consistently on their posts.

Comment on Blog Posts More– This sort of relates to the last one, but I want to make sure I’m commenting on my current bloggy friends whose posts I already love and enjoy, because I need to KEEP UP MY FRIENDSHIPS.  Yes, Joce, this takes work.

Writing

Finish outlining Chemical Capitalists– I set this aside for a long time now, but I’m starting to get the feeling where I NEED to work on it again, and so hopefully August will be the month where I crank through and write my outline.  I epically failed camp nano and so this will be a good makeup month to get me on track for real NaNo in November.

Decide what I want to do with my Calipso story and Walk story– I wrote a half outline for Walk, and I’ve been thinking about this other story for a while, and I just want to think and figure out which one I want to work on first, or if I want to put CC before either of them.

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What are your plans for August? Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What do you think?

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July Wrap: A Slow Month Where I Bought A LOT

I can’t believe it’s already the end of JULY and as of right now, I haven’t even gone to the beach.  Once.  Like, who even am I? I’m not sure anymore and I’m having an EXISTENTIAL CRISIS about it because the beach is actually my favorite place in the whole world and I’m… not going!?!?!  Not that that has anything to do with books, or writing, meaning that you guys don’t care at all, so to the real post (which is markedly shorter than my normal wrapups but idk):

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Physical Books

Lola

  1. Lola (4/5)— This was an ARC that I won from LibraryThing, and I was super excited to finally get around to reading it.  The plot lived up to expectations and beyond, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the actual style of writing.  I would recommend, but I’m not sure I would run out to buy something else by the author.

Audiobooks (weirdly there’s a lot of these)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianBehind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai UndercitySave Me

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian (4/5)— I listened to this book in the car on the way out to Colorado with my family, and thought it was the perfect family read.  The narrator was the author, which was cool because then you knew it was being read exactly as it was supposed to be, and although it took me a bit to get into the Native American Accent, once I did it was really enjoyable.
  2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers (4/5)-– This book took me FOREVER to read just because I kept forgetting about it, and you need to listen to it for long periods of time in order to get into it/understand, but I adored it once I got into it.  There’s so many characters and you hear lots of different people’s stories all intertwined, but if you’re willing to pay attention it’s worth the read.
  3. Save Me (3/5)— wtf happened to this book.  It started off SO STRONG and I was going to give it a much better rating, but then it went all magical unrealistic mom save the world big conspiracy that only she can uncover save the world.  Like, ummm, no.  just no.  So 4/5 for the first half, 2/5 for the second. Hence the three.

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This is a new section that I’m adding to the wrap up, since I realized it’s kind of weird that I didn’t have it already.  Basically, “New books” just means all the books that I’ve gotten, one way or another, over the course of the month.  This month especially was a really good one for book collection!  Of course, that only means that it’s been especially good for drowning in my own TBR, but yanno, you can’t win everything.

Kindle / eARC

Until It FadesCarnegie's MaidThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

  1. Until it Fades, by KA Tucker
  2. Carnegie’s Maid, by Marie Benedict
  3. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald

Physical Books

The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, #1)The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium, #4)Those GirlsFirefly Lane (Firefly Lane, #1)

  1. The Girl In the Spider’s Webm by David Lagercrantz
  2. The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M Auel
  3. Those Girls, by Chevy Stevens
  4. Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah

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  1. July 2017 Book Releases— There were SO many good books coming out this month, and although I didn’t have the chance to read any ARCS (I’m still behind from June) I can tell that I’m going to be scouring bookstores for months for cheap copies
  2. Genre Shaming Discussion— I wrote a post about why we shouldn’t shame people for reading genres that they enjoy, and I was happy to say that most people agreed with me! Make sure you weigh in on the discussion!
  3. Books that Need Sequels— For one of the BroodyBFF challenges, I wrote about books that I want to have sequels, but that don’t currently.  All the books I chose will probably never have sequels, but I WANT THEM SO AUTHORS ARE YOU LISTENING? but in all seriousness, it was a fun post to write.
  4. One by One Book Tour— I brought book tours back to the blog for this month, since they are quick and I didn’t have time to write a lot, and I really liked the sound of One by One, by Robert Germaux!

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Posts from around the blogosphere that you totally need to head over and check out

  1. May has been blogging FOR 6 WHOLE MONTHS. And it’s life changing.  And there’s a survey you need to fill out.
  2. Apparently July is a popular blogiversary month, because Teacher of YA had her 1 year blogiversary and wrote a post about it!  I’m super happy for her!
  3. Isla (formerly known under another name that I will not say because I don’t know if I’m supposed to) launched her brand new blog and said hi to everyone and I’m super excited.
  4. Nia compared some books and movies and told us what books to read if we like that movie and vice versa which is super helpful to all of us TV and movie nerds out there!
  5. Sarah wrote an interesting perspective on “reading” audiobooks, which although I somewhat disagreed with I loved reading.

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How did your July go? What books did you read? Have you read any of the books that I just got? Let me know all the thoughts

joce-sign-off


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